Six EIWA schools headed to Albany, N.Y., this past weekend for the Northeast Duals and none made a larger splash than Rutgers. The No. 18 Scarlet Knights were the only team at the Duals that went undefeated, going 3-0 behind wins over Stanford, Columbia, and arguably the biggest win in the team’s recent history in a 19-16 victory over No. 16 Missouri.
After dropping the first three bouts to fall behind 10-0, the Knights stormed back as a major decision from Daryl Cocozzo (157) and a pin from Scott Winston (165) provided precious bonus points that aided in the comeback.
Tied at 16, the match came down to the heavyweights, No. 5 DJ Russo of Rutgers and No. 2 Dom Bradley of Missouri. The bout was a classic, as Russo flipped Bradley to score a takedown in the final seconds and come away with a 4-3 decision.
While Rutgers was able to take down the Tigers, two other EIWA schools did not have such luck.
No. 12 Lehigh uncharacteristically lost by double digits to Missouri, 21-10, and No. 25 American succumbed to a similar fate in a 22-15 loss.
Aside from the losses to Missouri, the two programs put together a solid campaign as the Mountain Hawks bested Virginia and George Mason by scores of 36-7 and 40-3, respectively. The Eagles, ranked in the coaches’ poll for the first time this season, took down Bloomsburg by a 27-10 score, beat Stanford 31-10, and upset Pittsburgh 21-19 in a match that American had to hold onto for dear life, dropping the final four bouts.
Penn put together a 2-2 record in Albany, rebounding from losses to Pittsburgh (16-15) and Maryland (25-10) to demolish Sacred Heart (48-0) and Stanford (31-7).
No. 13 Micah Burak (197) continued his strong season, going 3-0, including a major decision in the loss to Maryland and a 3-2 upset over No. 8 Zac Thomusseit of Pittsburgh.
Columbia also took part in the Northeast Duals and put together an impressive 40-6 win over George Mason while falling 30-3 to Virginia and 29-9 to Rutgers.
At the Mat Town Open hosted by Lock Haven, No. 1 Cornell put together a strong showing even without the usual suspects taking first. Freshman Jesse Shanaman took first overall at 197 pounds while Oney Snyder equaled that feat in the heavyweight bracket. Snyder defeated fellow Big Red wrestler Stryker Lane to take gold.
Corey Manson also took second in the 141-pound division.
Franklin & Marshall sent only one wrestler to Lock Haven and Matt Fullowan made the most of it. The junior went 2-1 on the day and took second in the 174-pound weight class.
Empire State of Mind
Keeping an eye on New York wrestlers making a splash in the EIWA, it is hard to ignore the body of work two freshmen put together this past weekend.
A former two-time state champion at Letchworth Central High School, Michael Nevinger is making the most of his decision to stay instate and wrestle for Cornell. The 141-pounder has a 15-5 record thus far this year and went 4-1 at the Mat Town Open on Saturday.
Nevinger’s day included pins over American International’s George Lishke, Bucknell’s Jack Ingram, and East Stroudsburg’s Adam Hluschak.
Fresh off of a senior year at Fordham Prep in which he won a state championship, Andrew Lenzi’s solid wrestling seems to have traveled with him down to Penn. The 149-pound Buchanon, N.Y., native earned a 10-4 decision over Timmy Boone in the Quakers’ 31-7 victory over Stanford.
Wrestler of the Week
With the biggest win in a program’s history resting on his shoulders, Rutgers heavyweight DJ Russo calmly stepped in the ring against No. 2 Dom Bradley of Missouri. Down by one with seconds to go, the senior did not lose his composure and registered a takedown to give the Scarlet Knights a 19-16 win.
The Netcong, N.J., native is a perfect 10-0 on the season and was also named Wrestler of the Week by the EIWA conference for his 3-0 performance at the Northeast Duals.